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Dearborn native stuck in Shanghai after U.S. cancels flights to China amid coronavirus fears

Posted at 5:38 AM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 06:13:03-05

(WXYZ) — Fears over the coronavirus continues, as the death toll has now surpassed one thousand.

With more than 43,000 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, the World Health Organization is now saying the death toll is worse during this outbreak than it was during the SARS epidemic in 2003.

In Michigan, an Oakland County man is being tested for the virus after a visit to China.

He is now the fifth to be tested, the other four people to be tested where clear of the virus.

Abraham Darwish says he had plans to come home for the holidays, but that never happened after many major airline carriers canceled flights to and from China.

For him, it is not fear of coronavirus that has him feeling uneasy. It’s the isolation that he is currently in.

“It’s been hard to say the least, mentally," said Abraham Darwish, a Dearborn native currently stuck in Shanghai for the past three weeks.

The Dearborn native is in Shanghai for work, signing a deal with Everlast to teach boxing to others.

“Originally I wasn’t stuck, I mean the Chinese New Year holiday came, they told everyone to go home, and you know I was planning on taking a trip to the US," said Darwish.

That trip home for the holidays never happened.

“America blocked off flights from China suddenly, and I was like 'Wow'," said Darwish.

Now he is confined to his apartment— only going out to pick up food.

“Once every two days I go out, get my small groceries, and I am able to buy stuff but ever store you go into they have these little devices to check your temperature," said Darwish.

He says he is doing his best to stay strong.

“I’ve been alone, it’s been a very quiet time here for me, very isolated, there’s no people, there are no people in the streets, the streets are empty. Shanghai is normally busy, it's unbelievable how everybody is gone or they have to stay home," said Darwish.

Darwish says he has been in touch with his family — who are keeping his spirits up.

He’s says the Chinese government is telling people there will be an update next Monday, where he is hoping things can return to some sort of normalcy.